An NHNE Special Report
By NHNE SwiftWing Reporter Sherry Stultz
Sunday, June 7, 1998
THE BARGE INN, Alton Barnes, Wiltshire
The first part of my day with Vince Palmer was spent in a newly formed crop formation along the Devizes Road. My friend Amanda Roberts came with me for the afternoon, and the three of us embarked into mine and Amanda's first formation. Vince had lived in the area for nearly 6 years, moving to Wiltshire because of his fascination with crop circles. I cannot transcribe the first segment of the tape due to the noise from the road and the fierce wind that was blowing across the Salisbury Plain that day. Much of our conversation is quite broken by the other sounds. What follows is my interview of Vince at THE BARGE INN where we went afterwards to look at the mural Vince painted at what is commonly known as crop circle headquarters, UK.
SJS: So you don't go in them anymore, Vince?
SJS: Why not?
VP: One is because I am suffering from hay fever right now.
SJS: Are there a lot of pesticides on these crops?
VP: Yes, they spray them all the time... I've been in them every day since 1990 -- 8 years now -- and unless you're strictly a scientist or your heart's open enough to feel that there is an ongoing change, I feel that whatever benefit there was from them, I've already received. And it's bit like somebody who goes back to see a guru in India. The guru says, "Why are you here again? Didn't you learn the first time?" That's pretty much how I feel personally. It's like you've got to carry the spirit in your life in general. I feel that it's flattened corn: there are interesting shapes and I don't see that it's progressed over eight years.
SJS: Any changes in the energies that you've felt from the formations? It's pretty static then?
VP: This year I am not particularly impressed with them at all; they are not like 1996, for instance, but there's a lot of magic that goes on. Even the alleged circlemakers talk about the anomalies they experience when they're out in the fields -- like beams of light. Whether they are telling the truth or not, I find that really interesting. I think it could be more of a people-phenomenon, but it's not so black and white. It's not hoaxers or believers, or non-human intelligence; I think it's more complicated than that....
SJS: You have been inspired as an artist by crop circles, and you have a mural here at THE BARGE INN. It's beautiful. Has it inspired you to create other forms of art? How do you use it in your everyday life?
VP: I moved into the area because of crop circles. I was living in Birmingham. Then I went to Bristol and eventually got out here. If crop circles went away, we've got all the Neolithic sites; it's a wonderful magical area and the goddess is very much alive here, very feminine energy and I am attracted to that.
SJS: So what kind of art work do you create?
VP: In the 80's I was doing a lot of UFO stuff, and I've got one or two you'll have to see before you go back, if you like, which involve the pyramid of Giza and lots of UFO's descending and a gathering of people; it's a sort of strange feeling I had at the time -- I was a lot younger then. [The painting] was a sort of gathering that would happen towards the end of the millennium when a non human intelligence would eventually make contact with man, officially if you like, and the power sites were more likely to happen.
SJS: Power sites? For example?
VP: Like Avebury, where we are right now. This area has a pull. One of the things that happens is when you do move here, your perspective changes. As a visitor, your time is very limited. You want sightings and the biggest formations; you want such a powerful experience because you are here on a limited time. Then you have to maximize that. I used to notice that one or two of the locals that were into crop circles used to snicker at us as we came around and asked about the latest formation and if there had been any lights. And they sort of looked at you and smiled and now I find I am doing that myself. Familiarity breeds contempt...
SJS: Have you ever seen anyone make crop circle?
SJS: Which was the first circle you ever walked into?
VP: I arrived in 1990 when the big pictogram was in East Field, but I didn't go in it. They were charging a pound at the time and I didn't like the idea of being charged, and now I wished I had gone into it. But it was very well trodden and there was one or two circles down the main road in Alton Barnes, and also a set of three which didn't seem much visited. It was a very discreet little formation, and the one was like a tiny spiral that went into a ring, coming from a point. I was absolutely amazed to see the way that it started from the center and spiraled out -- just one ring, and it was delicate the way it got to the point, where it started. I thought how did they do that? And then the next guy came in after me walked straight across where the center was and I thought I was glad I got to see it before somebody trashed it.
SJS: You appreciate that as an artist? Line? Movement? The eye is a wonderful thing...
VP: Some of the formations, the flow, it's like looking at water. The way it rolls into each other and sprays over the top...
SJS: But being here gives you a sense of?
VP: Being here is good for the spirit. That's what I feel...
SJS: You've never had any sort of strange physical experiences in a crop circle?
VP: No... women seem particularly sensitive.
SJS: Have you ever seen any men become violently ill in crop circles?
VP: Yes, and on every occasion it was the farmer. The irony of it is, there was one on the M4; it was like a mandala formation, and it had several elements around the outside and there was a man there, Nan Loo, a Chegung Master from New York with his disciples. And we used the tram lines to respect the land, and there was this farmer who comes storming across the field, right through the corn. He was doing more damage than we were, if you like and he comes. And comes to me first and he asked me if I was on charge of this congregation, and I said no. He told me not to move, because he was going to take my name and number and I said fair enough.... and he got to Nan Loo, and said,"You realize I am going to lose this crop. I can't pick it up with a combine harvester!" And Nan Loo asked when he was going to pick it up. The farmer said in about two weeks time and Nan Loo said that they would come back and pick it up for him. The farmer didn't have an answer for him because Nan Loo was willing to come back with all of us that were there and pick up the corn....
SJS: What would you like to do in the future as far as your career goes and being here in this area?
VP: I'd love to paint surreal art and travel the world and meet lots of lovely people.
Vince was kind enough to let me lift excerpts from a booklet he has been writing to explain the significance of THE BARGE INN MURAL:
"THE BARGE INN has developed into the headquarters for crop circle information, which croppies from all over the world visit frequently. Because of my artistic background, I have wanted to create something inspired by the crop circle phenomenon. To a limited extent, I have fulfilled this by producing a booklet of black and white illustrated crop formations and several commissions related to the subject. To encompass a fuller expression of scale and colour of the influence and imagination crop circles have inspired, I needed a greater opportunity.
"Like most good ideas, they start out as a seed to hopefully mature in something memorable.
"Adrian, THE BARGE INN landlord, wanted to something special for the croppies room when he decided to redecorate the inn. He made inquiries around the village, which led to Tom Blower, who suggested Adrian contact me. We subsequently met and from our conversation I produced a colour sketch for Adrian's approval. He was happy with my initial design and allowed me artistic license in designing the content for most of the mural.
"I knew from the outset, all the ideas I included in the mural would relate to the immediate geographic area and the crop circle subject. This area included the Avebury monuments, the metropolis of Neolithic Britain, some 4000 thousand years ago, which is a physical diary of the spirit, imagination and harmony of Stone Age man's relationship with his environment. Is there some cosmic reason the Wessex area of Britain's first civilized settlements have witnessed the birth of the mysterious crop circle phenomenon?"
The green man
Growth, Nature, Fertility. Revered in ancient times as the great mother from whom all things of this physical are born and shall return. This was the first element and direction I painted on the ceiling, choosing the Green Man to represent the Earth element. The Green Man is also known as Green George, Jack-in-the-Green, Leaf Man, and May King, to symbolise tree spirits whose roles were played in the springtime folk festivals by men dressing in leaves...
Life force, Energy, Willpower, Purification. A masculine element ruled by the Sun. The most spiritual of all elements, because of its life bringing qualities.
The sun had no competition for choosing this element, due to its awesome power. The source of our solar system worshipped throughout the ages, invoking all the positive emotions. I for one, always feel lifted when the sun breaks from between the clouds on a winter's say, as the spring evenings lengthen, and the flowers push through the soil beckoned by the fire in the sky.
The Wiccan summary in italics above describes the fire as a masculine element. In Europe the sun has traditionally been considered masculine and the moon feminine, chiefly to assert that "his" light was stronger, and that "she" shone only by reflected glory, thus symbolising the position of women in a patriarchal society. However, Oriental and other pre-Christian systems frequently made the sun a goddess. Many of the old pagan festivals involving bonfires, torches, candles, and other lights were originally dedicated to the Goddess-as-sun, or the Goddess as controller of the sun and it's cycles...
An NHNE Special Report
By NHNE SwiftWing Reporter Sherry Stultz